Working out the bugs

Sidney’s new garbage deal now in effect; kitchen scraps being shipped to Richmond facility

Working through some growing pains of a new garbage collection contract was fully expected, says Sidney’s manager of engineering and environmental services.

Mike van der Linden said the Town’s new garbage contract with Emterra Environmental went into effect at the beginning of January and has been going well, with a few challenges along the way.

Not only is a new contractor getting to know the community (previous contractor, Alpine, held the contract for nearly 20 years), van der Linden said residents are being asked to separate their kitchen scraps from the regular garbage.

“There are some learning curves,” he said.

The Capital Regional District plans to stop taking kitchen scraps and compostable organic material at its Hartland landfill as of 2015. As a result, municipalities in the region have adjusted their waste collection contracts and bylaws to ensure people don’t mix up the waste.

In Sidney, van der Linden said the Town handed out new kitchen scrap bins to local households in December — a larger one for outside and a smaller, kitchen-catcher-style bin for inside. Emterra collects material from those, as well as people’s existing garbage cans.

A snag was hit early on, he continued, between the new contract and local strata neighbourhoods.

“The previous contractor took it upon themselves to collect garbage right from these stratas,” said van der Linden, noting the Town itself does not require Emterra to do the same.

Van der Linden added, however, Emterra is working with some of the strata groups to arrange for similar pickups.

The company, he said, will have to arrange with the stratas to be able to go onto their properties for that purpose.

Sidney approved the new garbage collection deal with Emterra last summer, agreeing to pay $1.67 million over five years. They were the low bidder (Alpine bid just over $2 million and BFI Canada bid $4.1 million) for weekly pickup and kitchen organics pickup. The new deal means residents are paying $156 a year for full collection service — a 56 per cent increase over the previous year.

The Town this week passed a new refuse disposal bylaw that sets out a list of what residents can and cannot put into the kitchen organics bins. Visit for more information.

Sidney scraps go to Richmond

Sidney’s new garbage collector is taking kitchen scraps and organics to a composting facility in Richmond.

Mike van der Linden, the Town’s manager of engineering and environmental services, says Sidney and Oak Bay’s organics are transported via ferry to Richmond Energy Garden and Compost Facility. Other Greater Victoria municipalities that separate out the scraps from regular garbage, truck theirs to a facility in Cobble Hill.

Van der Linden said the Richmond facility uses an anaerobic process to both control odour and capture methane and heat, turning it into electricity. The composting of kitchen waste has been a concern in the Capital Regional District of late, stemming from odour complaints at the Foundation Organics facility in Central Saanich.

Sidney’s separate yard waste collection program sees material sent to Michell Bros Farm for use in compost.